Everyday Challenges of a Real Estate Photographer, part 1: MLS Guidelines

One of the biggest challenges that a real estate photographer will face is the realization that their creativity and productivity can often be derailed do to specific rules and guidelines. MLS guidelines, specifically, are numerous, and while you aren’t technically required to do know these things, the products you’re providing must have these restrictions in mind. In the end, you’re working with agents, and because they have restrictions, so do you.

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Some of most important guidelines and rules that we came up with are:

(1) Branding.
Elements like Virtual Tours and Property Websites CANNOT contain any kind of branding, whether it relates to the agent, the agent’s brokerage, or the people responsible for putting these elements together (photographers, graphic artists, web developers).

(2) MLS images.
This is not a requirement, but it’s good to know that the MLS has a template for images and a process for resizing images that don’t match its size proportions. Most of the time, photographers will use a rectangular layout because that’s the proportions that come out of the camera. The MLS, however, resizes them into a square, often resulting in a squeezed look. Prepare for this ahead of time, and if necessary, complete a 2nd set of images that are to be used specifically for the MLS.

(3) Required information for property brochures & flyers.
When doing a property brochure or flyer, it’s important to keep in mind that it’s essential to have agent contact information, including phone number and email. The most important aspect is that every brochure MUST HAVE the agent’s BRE #, and this number CANNOT be the smallest sized font on the page. Agents that violate this will be fined, and that means they will probably never use you again (whether you believe it’s your responsibility to know this or not).


If you are a realtor, and you found this helpful or relevant, pass it along. If you have something to add, help us keep this list going.

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